Tonight, Josh and I had a date night; a night that I felt was somewhat deserved after all the stress these past couple of weeks have put on us. We spent the evening by driving to Waffle House and getting a couple of burgers to go. Then we headed to the movie theater, where we ate our delicious meal outside, in the car, and then watched Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a fun night, with lots of laughing, joking, and teasing. It was also a later night, which put us on the road home later than usual; a time in Tallahassee where most people are leaving the bar or clubs on a Friday night. As we drove down the main road, we noticed some people sitting at a bus stop who were older than the average college student. It became apparent by their long faces, ratted clothing, and determination of sitting that these people called the bus stop home, or something very close because it was familiar and provided shelter. As we drove past, my heart yearned to do something to help these homeless people. It had me thinking about their situations and the stereotypes that are often placed on people, as Josh and I discussed how I felt. I explained how sorry I felt for them, especially because they are part of God’s creation, and, as Christians, we are meant to love and adore everyone, even the homeless, orphans, and widows, as the bible tells us.
But, in today’s world, at least in America, the help that should be given to these people has recently started to be overlooked. Tax payers complain that their money is going to people who are “working the system.” Whether this is true or not, I don’t believe it is true of every human being. I think that each person’s life is situation-based, whether their situation is due to their choices of drug use, not trying hard enough, or what-have-you, or if their situation is a result of circumstances beyond their control, like expensive medical bills, not being able to have a better income where they work, whatever it is.
But, all of this had me thinking about our prejudgment and the teasing I do. Josh and I had a wonderful night laughing together, but how much of that laughing was of someone else’s expense? It could have been the kids who were walking home drunk, or the guy with the different look than ours. Maybe those kids that were drunk are not believers, and need someone to lead them to Jesus. Or maybe the guys that have a different taste in clothing and style can teach us something new. I wonder what they would say if they knew the comments or thoughts we might have for them.
Throughout school, I was very fortunate to never really encounter bullies. I had a solid community of friends, and am so thankful for that. As I look back, I remember being the shy girl in grade school, who kept quiet and did her work. Was I a bully? Not that I recall, except for one incident that taught me so much; one that I look at now, as I think of those people we saw on the street tonight.
When I was in 7th grade, I got into a dispute with a friend and used some foul language towards her. It really hurt her, and as a result, she spread a rumor about me that I was interested in the same gender because of a friend I had that was a homosexual. Personally, I prefer the opposite sex, and have my own beliefs regarding homosexuality based on the bible (which is a topic for another time), so it hurt my feelings and really offended me, especially due to some personal events that were taking place in my life that dealt with the same issue. This rumor spread, and though I had great friends to stop the rumor, it really took a toll on me and my self-esteem, and even my personality. I realized how much I had hurt someone, and they responded. It was also the end of a friendship, one that I valued very much in the 7th grade.
Tying that story back into my evening tonight, I realized how much my tongue is like a sword, as it says in the bible. Though those people may not hear me directly, God does, and that does not bring Him glory. We were created to bring glory and praise to God, and by stereotyping others and judging, we are not only doing the opposite of what God intended, but we are also being ginormous bullies, which is not uplifting, nor loving towards others.
Dear Lord, I thank you for your mercy and those Aha! moments that you put in my everyday walk, showing me how to become more like You. I ask that you will lead me to be more loving to others, whether others are watching or not, because, Lord, you are always watching, and that is the most important-that is the only importance. Lord, please forgive me for my judgmental ways. I want to love others like you love me. Thank you for your unconditional love, and for making each person an individual and beautiful masterpiece. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.